The campaign is playable in up to four player co-op, and like previous games, you’ll want to crank up the difficulty to get the most out of it. The biggest loss in terms of co-op is the lack of match making for the campaign and the lack of a Firefight mode altogether. Thankfully the latter has been replaced by Spartan-Ops, which we’ll get to in a minute. You can check our Co-Op FAQ or Database for all the nitty gritty details of what you can and can’t do in co-op.
The campaign itself presents plenty of great moments for co-op play - whether it’s working together in the giant moving vehicle, piloting a Warthog, or planning an assault on an enemy position. The Halo games feel as if they are made for cooperative combat and it’s a blast at every turn. So really it shouldn’t be a surprise to see 343 create a mode dedicated to this style of gameplay called Spartan-Ops.
Spartan-Ops takes place 6 months after the end of Halo 4 and it is planned to be presented like a weekly TV series. Each week Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get 5 new missions to play as well as a cinematic movie to help progress the story. These missions are designed for up to four players, but you can try them solo if you want. Each mission should takes an average of 15 or 20 minutes to complete and the objectives and style of the missions vary. In one mission you simply need to clear the area of enemies, another starts out as a recon mission that quickly turns into survival as you wait for extraction, and another is a vehicle based mission where you destroy generators. So far the first five missions of Spartan-Ops feel distinctly different from each other and each one starts with a small intro with some story. Hopefully 343 can continue this kind of quality every week.
All of your progress from Spartan Ops, the campaign, and multiplayer versus contributes towards your custom Spartan. It’s in the “Spartan Hub” that you’ll tackle challenges like killing a certain number of enemies, or completing a mission within certain parameters, to earn extra XP. The XP contributes to your level which unlocks access to customizations and tokens to further enhance your character. It’s a pretty in depth system that’s sure to take anyone hours upon hours to unlock everything in.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the competitive multiplayer in Halo 4, as it is a large chunk of the game. 343 has given a slight twist on the traditional formula by making the multiplayer as if it’s one giant training exercise between spartans taking place aboard the USNC Infinity. Because of this the presentation skews towards a military training exercise. There’s at least a dozen playlists to choose from and plenty of maps as well. Again everything you do counts back towards your custom spartan. I’ve found myself quite addicted to competitive, it feels fairly balanced and the maps are well laid out. As always the vehicle based larger team battles are a ton of fun and offer plenty of wow and laugh out loud moments.
Halo 4 isn’t so much of a reboot of the series as it is an evolution. While Halo fans will feel at home, those that are new to the series (seriously, what’s up people?) should be able to jump in, enjoy and appreciate what is there. 343 has laid the groundwork for something that can live up to its predecessor while still calling it their own. Halo 4 is exactly what the Xbox 360 needed at the end of a console life cycle, and it’ll only leave you wanting more.
The Co-Op Experience: Spartan Ops mode features weekly packs of 5 missions. The game's main campaign is also playable in co-op via online, split-screen or LAN.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.